Wenona Gardner – White Turtle Rainbow

Traitor Dad

By Wenona Gardner

Mohican father
accused of sexually assaulting
me in diapers by my mother.
I was held hostage
at gunpoint by my Father
because my Mother
wanted to leave him.
Cops outside the house.
Gun going off.
Mother’s human shield.
Yet I loved Dad and
was proud to be Mohican.
I confronted my Father
about Mom’s accusations of
sexual assault in diapers.
Dad promised that he never abused me
and never would.
I choose to believe my Dad.
I wanted to live with my Dad
because I couldn’t handle
living with the insanity with my mother.
But my father lied and
he sexually assaulted me in my teens.
He entered the bathroom
when I was in the tub naked.
He drilled holes in the bathroom wall.
He stood naked in my bedroom and
masterbated while looking at me sleep.
I woke up with his fingers
me vaginally.
I feared him impregnanting me next
when I heard God say “RUN!!”
I ran away from home at 15
only to be further sexually assaulted
by a 26 year old foster brother.
I testified in court against my father
to protect myself, my little sister, and
the children of Milwaukee Public Schools where my father worked.
He was convicted
a sex offender for life.
In revenge he said he was not my father
My mother said he just said that to hurt me and that he was the only man she had been with.

By Wenona Gardner

When I was a little girl
Gamma was the one who
took me to parks.
She sang songs
under her canopy bed.
She baked pies
including my favorite pecan,
but it stopped when she
feared the stove would blow up.
She stared hours at a wall
smoking and saying nothing.
I once went to the hospital
and thought she was dying
after she had electroshock therapy
She terminated her Grandparent’s rights when my mother lost custody of me at nine year’s old.
She got so sick mentally when
she had over hundred cats
in her one bedroom flat.
She asked me to come over, but wouldn’t unlock the door when I arrived.

By Wenona Gardner

Mom living in the park
running from psychiatrists.
Always falling in love
with alcoholics.
I was beaten by her
because the soap burned
between my legs.
She said my father
sexually abused me
when I was in diapers and
held us hostage by
gunpoint when she
tried to leave him.
When she lost custody
of me at nine years old
she terminated her parental rights.
So there was no one to call for help
when my father sexually assaulted
me in my teens.
She claimed to be my real mother
then cost me my foster home
that made me homeless.
When I need her I call
but there is no answer.
I call on Christmas … no answer.
I call on Mother’s Day … no answer.

My letter to Wil Wheaton in response to his blog post on his Depression.

I have been battling mental illness for 20 years, hospitalized repeatedly, and I am currently unable to work trying to live on $737 a month of Social Security Disability. I get really down on where my life has been and currently where it is at. I feel like why does God have me here for? I have a BA in Business from Alverno College but have yet to use it and have a real career. I aspire to be a writer and I am a big fan of Julia Cameron and her Artist’s Way Trilogy of books. I must admit I envy your creative life cause you always seem to be doing great things despite your depression whereas my mental illness I am often incapacitated by mental illness. I am single at 42 living in transitional housing at Salvation Army and I go to an adult day treatment program during the week. I sit here thinking when will my life begin? I am nervous about starting Peer Specialist training in Omaha, Nebraska starting March 31st. A Peer Specialist is a mental health consumer who uses their experience with mental illness and training to help another mental health consumer with their recovery. I was trained as a Peer Specialist in Wisconsin in 2006. I then worked 10 hours a week on a warmline for the Waukesha Mental Health Association for a year. Then in 2007 I worked for a recovery center for adults with mental illness 10 hours a week for 6 years as a Peer Specialist facilitating Artist’s Way Circles Women’s Circles, and Prayer Circles. In 2011, I passed the state exam becoming a Wisconsin State Certified Peer Specialist. 2013 I relapsed with a combination of mental and physical illnesses and lost my job due to my illnesses. I fell in love with an Omaha guy and moved to Nebraska to be with him, but the relationship fell apart as I was hospitalized due to mental breakdowns 3 in one year. Also I found out my Wisconsin State Certification for Peer Specialist does not transfer to Nebraska. Meaning I have to start my training over again March 31 through April 15 then take the Nebraska State Peer Specialist Certification. Hopefully I can do this successfully so at least I can attempt to work again as a Peer Specialist. I am hoping to take all those 20 years of mental health recovery and be some help to someone like you. Have you ever heard of a Peer Specialist where you live? Reason I ask is because talking to a Peer Specialist can help you because they have been there and know from personal experience which some mental health providers lack. I strongly encourage you to try talking with a Peer Specialist. My big dream though I’d love to write a book that is why I admire you so much because you have written your blog and books already.

Sharing your story I realize that I idealized your life but through your depression you are more like me than I realized.



by Wenona Gardner

I sit here



I just got

some bad news.

My heart is heavy.

I wonder is there

any hope for me?

Effloresence: Blooming from the Ashes

By Wenona Gardner

Wabun Anung (Morning Star)

Anishnaabekwe Ojibwe





Often times my life

crumbles as such

each time I have a

mental breakdown.

Sometimes I wonder

how far my mind can

really go in the end.

I wonder how long it will last?

My mind seems to have

great resilience which is

funny because people falsely

assume that mental illness

means weakness not strength.

I know I have limits.

I have decided to reject

Stigma in my life.

I reject it through and through.

Instead my mind is a Phoenix!



from the Ashes!

Great Creator gives me

Beauty for my Phoenix Ashes!

Wounded Healer

By Wenona Gardner

Wabun Anung (Morning Star)

Anishnaabekwe Ojibwe

As a Medicine Woman

I have learned through

my walk on Mother Earth

that my source is a Wounded Healer.

I lead by example,

as I reach in my wounds

and pull out the core of

pain inside to allow ultimate healing.

Once I saw a beautiful video

describing the Wounded Healer

just as it equated to the meaning of

a Peer Specialist as well which I am also.

Peer Specialist is a mental health consumer

who uses their experience and training

to help empower other mental health consumers

to focus on their recovery journey as well.

Again leading by example,

I see the beauty of using

experiences that normally would be

devastating and transforming them to healing.

Great Creator’s power to give beauty for ashes

feels very relative to me as I step out of

the ashes of the Phoenix Soul I have and

transform into something more priceless.

A Child of God.

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